By Ndubuisi Francis
The federal government has expressed commitment to implement the recommendations of the Inter-Agency Committee to tackle flood disaster in the Niger Delta region.
It assured Nigerians that proactive measures would be taken to avert such disasters while necessary efforts would be evolved to mitigate the situation where they occur.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, stated this in Abuja yesterday at the official presentation of the committee’s report on the assessment of potential impact of flooding and the level of preparedness in the region for the 2020 seasonal rainfall.
He said: “Over the years, the Niger Delta region has witnessed varying degrees of environmental challenges that have had tremendous negative impact on not only the people of the region but also on the country at large.
“One of these environmental challenges that has assumed annual occurrence is the seasonal flooding of the area with its catastrophic consequences, hence the inauguration of the Inter-Agency Committee.”
At statement issued by the Director of Press and Public Relations in the ministry, Patricia Deworitshe, said the minister assured Nigerians that the report of the committee would be forwarded to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) as well as all the state governors, local government areas in the region and the international oil companies located in the
Akpabio added that “flooding is a challenge, and everyone must have a say because it affects the lives of people.”
The committee, which was inaugurated on September 1, 2020, was among others, charged with examining the perennial flooding problem in the region; determine flood monitoring mechanisms, flood notification protocols, flood evaluation protocols, flood response taskforce; setup requirement and readiness as well as identify areas of importance that attention will be needed for future planning and effective impact management.
The minister noted that the Niger Delta has continued to suffer the impact of flooding, which had claimed lives and destroyed properties despite sensitisation, early warning and awareness creation, adding that this year’s rainy season was becoming severe and displaying its intensity in different flood-prone areas of the region.
Earlier in his remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr. Babayo Ardo, stated that following the persistent flooding in the Niger Delta region resulting in loss of lives and property, the ministry inaugurated a committee to look into the causes of flooding in the Niger Delta region, assess its impact and proffer solutions that will mitigate the impact of flooding in the region.
The Chairman of the committee, Dr. E. O Mbie, in his remarks, said the committee worked assiduously in line with the terms of reference to prepare and present the report, adding that the implementation of the recommendations made in the report will help the region develop highly integrated flood management approach with emphasis on prevention, mitigation, preparedness and recovery.